Fuck me. I’m ovulating and feeling superhero-bitch, so here’s my big bird, my middle finger saying fuck you mofo to my inner dialogue, the diary of a sketchy mom. My uterus is angered and swollen, I’m hard-up for arrogance and insecurity.
I just got off the phone with a friend who’s helping me over come the side effects of being me. If you didn’t know, I’m in recovery from myself, and oh, being raised by an addict. He asked,” Why are you angry? What are you protesting?” I said, “I don’t know, I just I want to fight. I’m not hungry, I’m a little lonely, and maybe somewhat tired. I guess I’m mad about writing. I don’t want to write, but I I have to. I just feel so insecure about it.” He told me something like, “A creative once said, ” If you’re uncomfortable about the work you’re putting out, it’s probably just what you should be doing.”
I hated it, I squirmed, hand on my hip, pacing, mentally spitting. He was right. But man it was awful to hear, it meant I needed to keep doing what I do. I have to give myself to you, and show up for it despite my protest.
I don’t want to finish this piece, admit my defects of character, or even deal with the new version of my life for that matter. But the fact is I have to, I don’t have the same financial support as I did before, and now I have nothing else to lose. Time to write or die.
I play the roles of both sadist and masochist, I seek pleasure from the pain I inflict on myself until I break. For me, space and hope is created when I focus on changing my attitude. This happens when I’m out of options, after I’ve spanked myself enough times that I’m forced to call out my safe word.
So here I am,”SAFETY,” home base.
Recounting the events of the day I met the dawn of my humility, I want to vomit. Back to the day when my ex and I went back to the mediator-after being separated for three and half years, and divorced for more than two-changing my life, and challenging the beliefs I have about myself, and who I want to become.
The attorney met with us both individually and together, during our private discussion he said, “Shannon, I know you’re scared, but what he’s offering is still generous. I encourage you to rise to the financial crisis you could be facing.” This punch in the chest burned and filled the cracks in my heart like smoke, but it also spoke of gratitude, and foresaw love.
Later that day, back home with Susan on the eve of 2013, recapping the story to her, choking on my fears, and a glass of bubbles, I began reconstructing my life. We finished our meal and started our painting project. After I told her everything she said, “Babe, you’ve got this. You’re strong and courageous, fearless and bold. Stop hiding from the world, go out there and give them hell.” I painted over the wood we brought in from outside, brushing layers of paint over the brittle surface, and that’s how I felt, like liquid trying to absorb into a hardened surface-the texture of my new life. My financial support had been yanked out from under me, and now it was my turn to hold myself up to the backdrop of my making.
I called my dad longing for that paternal support I felt I’d lost with my ex. He answered, after the formalities, I said, “Well for starters I’m buzzed, and I’m really sad” my words broke into undistinguishable sounds and sniffles. He listened for a while, and then said-like a savior of reason, “I think you can cut back. You’re still making a lot more than most people. You should be able to afford your life with your income and child-support combined.” I cried even harder, “Dad, I just don’t want to be like my mom.I don’t want to just give up and let my kids suffer. I don’t want to move in order to avoid working harder, and to stay in a victim role. I don’t want to take advantage of anyone, but I’m scared.” He said, “Honey, you’re nothing like your mom, never have been. You shouldn’t have to move. You may need to cut back on your spending, but you shouldn’t have to move.” I quieted down, grateful for my father’s strong, and grounding influence in my life. And I realized how much I still had even though I felt at a loss.
My soul cried and mourned for things to remain the same, internally my heart and demons fought for what was and what is becoming. I kept thinking about what my ex-husband said, Shannon, “You know I’d give you those things still if I could” and he meant it. He cared for me, and gave me a sense of financial security I didn’t think I could manage on my own. It was our language of love, he took care of me, and I took care of the rest. The system failed but didn’t stop working after our marriage ended. And now it was ending.
I told him, “I guess it’s been unfair for of me to assume you wanted things to stay the same. I never even asked you if you still wanted me to be a stay-at-home mom. I just continued that role, while you shouldered the burden of two households. Is that still important to you? Do you want me to stay home with the kids?” He said he didn’t, that he wanted me to work, but I think-knowing and trusting the man he is-if he were able he’d let me stay in that role.
Everything was finalized. Although my actual legal divorce was filed, sealed and delivered a few years ago, I didn’t feel the violent force of the impact until then. He finally took his love away, and in doing so, my identity. The financial support had been the way he loved me, and it also kept me from reaching my full potential. And although this is so hard to admit, but it’s also why I loved him. This understanding of myself only comes in retrospect. I married him believing that my love for him was unconditional, meaning I thought I loved him for who he was, and not what he could do for me. But that was false, and not in an evil way, it’s just who I was, I didn’t know better until I did. None of this was a grand orchestrated event, it was the life I constructed for myself based on my limitations and thoughts about who I was. I honestly didn’t think I was capable of taking care of myself, I needed someone to provide for me. That was my main criteria in attracting a mate. It was to have my basic instinct to survive met, and in return I offered myself.
To acknowledge this defect now fills me with shame, but I fight the urge to berate myself for something I did unconsciously. Not only did I cause harm to myself but I also hurt him. I can only take responsibility for my part, and I’ve had to resist taking on more than my share of the unspoken agreement between us. It saddens me to think about how easily I gave myself away, but I can only see that now.
And then something beautiful happened. By divorcing the final act,and accepting my fate-not fighting him in court,upholding my spiritual principles to be authentic in my actions-to not manipulate, or try to control-I connected with my ability to love him selflessly, I found the love he deserves. The true nature of it was born after I admitted to myself and others the truth about the relationship. I told them, “I relied on him, and my role as a mom as a means to an end. My status kept me in a position to always need him.” Only then-after owning up to my behavior-was I able to forgive and love myself for being imperfect, and therefore more able to love him, the way I’m learning to love myself.
I’m able to step back now and see how well I chose in my fight for survival. I picked someone to have children with who will always be there for me, and in ways that are more meaningful than anything money could ever buy. He fought hard along side me to protect our children from the irrevocable damages they could’ve suffered if we had gone to court over money. He shared my desire to want to shield them from the consequences of adult behavior. We both knew that our friendship would’ve been shattered if we ended up in court, and knew how detrimental that could’ve been to our kids.
As for me, the other gift I received through all of this-the new era of my life revealed-is the opportunity to gain more self confidence, to put my cape on and fly. This is my chance to shove my foot up the world’s ass, and leave my shit behind. I’ve got to go inside and pull out my anger and swollen pride, and let go of my negative, self-doubting ways of thinking. I need to make mad-love to the sweet spot in between arrogance and insecurity, the perfect marriage, and emerge as the writer-offspring.
I’m attaching a song that’s meaning has changed a few times for me since I’ve heard it. I’m dedicating it to myself and all the other people out their who suffer in pain from their own making.